Solar cycle 24 at rock bottom… 28 days with ZERO SUNSPOTS… the whole month of February
Dxers Unlimited’s weekend edition for Sunday 3 March 2019
By Arnie Coro radio amateur CO2KK
Hi amigos radioaficionados… Yes my friends living North of the Equator…. we are all now enjoying the typical spring equinoctial propagation conditions on the short wave bands especially HF band openings that are happening around local sunset and again near sunrise. The sporadic e layer events are few and of short duration at this time, but that will change by the end of April. The summer E skip season is still a couple months away. Now let me say that the Six Meters band, spanning from 50 to 54 megaHertz is very much underused and activity on it is very low, something that puts that frequency band assignment in jeopardy, as there are many potential users for that marvelous part of the lower VHF spectrum. But as always even now around the spring equinox openings via sporadic E layer events have happened here in Havana up to the FM broadcast band when some very strong E layer clouds make that possible. Aurora Borealis reflections, backscatter signals from the auroral curtain, sudden changes in signal levels along propagation paths that go through the North Pole, and the appearance of very high maximum usable frequencies will from now on become less and less frequent as solar cycle 24 continues its downward slope towards its present minimum to be reached by the end of 2019 or early 2020, depending on the different forecasts and predictions.
Yes amigos , let me remind you all that way back during 2011 when the daily solar flux some days peaked at up to almost 200 units, 6 meters did open up for F2 propagation for the first time during this solar cycle. But those openings simply do not happen when the daily solar flux is down to below 75 units, as it is happening at this moment..
Item two: For those of you that enjoy minimum parts count electronic circuits… more information following the great interest shown by many listeners that wrote to me requesting information about the ultra simple minimum parts count transistorized regenerative receiver… today I will talk about the diagram of yet another simple radio, that requires not one but three transistors, but that is also easy to assemble and easy to adjust. No danger for children also, because it operates with very low voltage fed to the collectors of the transistors… Three or four penlight cells will power up this radio for quite many hours of listening. The number of electronic components of this other radio is not at the bare minimum, but there are not so many after all.. and believe me that it does work and picks up ham radio stations on the 40 meters band with excellent quality. You will need three NPN high gain transistors and good quality headphones . This new little radio provides what can best be described as also truly amazing performance, considering the very few added parts that it uses.
Experimenters can easily add an external computer loudspeaker set and connect the radio to it so that you can listen without using headphones…. Experimenting with simple receivers that operate from batteries is one of the more than 93 ways that you and I will be able to enjoy this wonderful hobby..
Item three: Also related to minimalist, low parts count radios, I am working again on a new version of a receiver that uses parts recycled from compact fluorescent light bulbs circuit boards… The first version of that project provided good reception on the AM broadcast band, making it an ideal emergency radio, because it runs with just four penlight cells that will last for several months. If you want to see the circuit diagrams just mentioned, send me an e-mail to inforhc at enet dot cu…
Now stay tuned on this same frequency or connected to our world wide web internet streaming audio… I will be back in a few seconds after a short break for a station ID…
This is Radio Havana Cuba, the name of the program is Dxers Unlimited , and it is on the air twice weekly… Here is now, at the request of several listeners, information of our schedule. Dxers Unlimited’s weekend edition, the one that you are listening to now, is on the air just after the top of the hour Radio Havana Cuba’s newscast… The program is on the air several times all along the Sunday and Monday UTC days…. Our mid week edition is on the air just after the half hour news, with the reruns programmed for Tuesday and Wednesday UTC days. I must add that the scripts of the two shows are totally different, and also that both of them include our exclusive and not copyrighted short wave propagation update and forecast…
NOW our next radio hobby related item follows…
Here is now YOU HAVE questions and Arnie tries to answer them as soon as possible… Today’s question came from Canada where we have many Radio Havana Cuba listeners … a listener Fred from Toronto says he is a frequent winter time visitor to Varadero Beach and the Cayo Santa Maria beach resort too. Now he plans for an extra summer visit, and tells me that he wants to bring his multi-band digital radio receiver, and asks if this type of equipment is allowed to enter into the country. Well amigo Fred, consumer type receivers brought by tourists are OK with the Cuban customs regulations, but sophisticated professional communications type receivers do require a special permission from the Ministry of Communications and that also holds for any type of transmitting equipment.
Now the second question that coincidentally also came from Canada, from Vancouver, where amigo Jonathann is listening very late in the evening to our 6100 kiloHertz frequency and he wants to know how much power and what type of antenna we are using on that 49 meters band channel. Well amigo Jonathan we are running 100 kiloWatts and using a 4 by 4 type of curtain array with an estimated gain of around 16 decibels over a half wave dipole, and that sure helps to deliver such an excellent signal into the Pacific Northwest area of North America
And now just before going QRT here is our exclusive and not copyrighted HF plus low band VHF propagation update and forecast… Solar flux will hover very near 70 80 and solar activity will remain very low, and there are no chances for solar flares during the next two to three days. The sunspot number was at zero for the whole month of February, but now it seems a new lonely sunspot is emerging on the solar disc . Expect some daytime openings on the the 20, 17, 15 and even on 12 and 10 meters typical of the spring equinox…… Daytime conditions will not be as good as what we will see after local sunset.
See you all at the mid week edition of Dxers Unlimited amigos… It will be on the air next Tuesday and Wednesday UTC days.. Send your signal reports and comments to inforhc at enet dot cu,,, your radio hobby related questions will be answered on the air during our ASK ARNIE section of Dxers Unlimited, Our e’mail address is: inforhc at enet dot cu, and the postal mail box is Radio Havana Cuba, Havana , Cuba